Well, after a month of being a live website, I think we’re ready to do what websites do: assume an entitled sense of self-importance and present a pretentiously definitive list. Consider it a cathartic exercise, an airing of our historical movie grievances. Let that hate flow out so we can get back to the parts of the film we love.
Rules and criteria for the list will be defined as the entries are listed, but generally, we’re working down through villains who are increasingly disgusting, vile, evil, sadistic, hate worthy. Get your bile ducts warmed up. Here we go.
100. Jigsaw, The Saw Series
You know a villain has gotten under your skin when you start aligning your allegiance with cancer. Jigsaw fancies himself some sort of martyr, using torture to teach the value of life to his unsuspecting victims who wake up in fight-for-your-life puzzle scenarios. But, even so, there is that ever present awareness that his murderous moral preachiness borrows directly from a vastly superior villain you’ll find ranked way higher on our list. Jigsaw could have also climbed a few spots higher if his unlikability weren’t rivaled by that of his annoying victims.
99. Hexxus, Fern Gully
The destruction of the rain forest is a bad thing. I don’t think that’s ever been up for dispute (though I would be interested to hear Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the subject). But the popularity of the protest reached new heights in the early 90s and imbedded itself into the collective subconscious of an entire generation. What I’m saying is that, in a weird way, Hexxus might be the best thing that could happen for the rain forest. Beyond its villain, there is little about Fern Gully that makes sense and even less that is memorable, but the Tim Curry-voiced evil spirit was unlikable enough to inspire an army of eight-year old ideological protestors. Pretty sure I made my parents donate a few bucks.
98. Ivan Drago, Rocky IV
The wall is down now. Can we be honest, yet? Ivan Drago is an iconic villain solely because of Cold War Xenophobia. Dolph Lundgren, the Swede-turned-Russian stand-in, doesn’t so much offer a character but a symbol, a manifestation of concentrated propaganda. Look, I’m putting him on here because it works! I hate Ivan every time I watch, but he and his twin sister Brigitte Nielson went on to form a template for American film that was used to build stock Russian characters as recently as Pacific Rim. Most Rocky movies are astute studies of the human condition that extend to every corner of the ring. Rocky’s opponents are usually fleshed out and realized. Not here though. You need a villain if you want to be patriotic! And this skewed direction prevents Rocky IV from accomplishing the substance of all the other chapters (even Rocky V) and that’s all the more reason to hate this fierce, cold, punchbot.
97. T-Rex, Jurassic Park
He’s the reason your feet were pattering with anticipation before the pre-movie trailers stopped. And he’s the reason your shoulders were smashed against the back of the seat, your nails were digging into your neighbor’s legs, and your eyes were popping out of your head by the end of the movie. We wanted– neigh, we needed to see this beast fully realized. But we were not ready. Jurassic Park‘s version of T-Rex was seven leaps and twelve bounds beyond anything we’d seen before in scale and magnitude and he was absolutely terrifying. Because of this movie, I bet half of you still react to unwelcome reptiles by standing completely still. Has that science ever been proven?
96. Raymond Lemorne, The Vanishing
If the camera didn’t follow him (and if he didn’t look strikingly like that character from the shitty TV show Trailer Park Boys), we probably wouldn’t give Raymond a second glance. He appears very… standard. And that’s why he’s so chilling. His cold acceptance of his own demented sociopathy is disturbing, but watching him twice use Rex and Saskia’s love for one another as a manipulative tool is nauseating. The character of Raymond subverts Hitchcockian principle: nothing about him is veiled for the sake of suspense. His techniques are shown in rehearsal, his ambition openly admitted (he seeks to equal in evil the heroism displayed by his once having saved a dying young girl). He breaks the rules that the villains of most Thrillers are required to follow, and we hate him all the more for it.
95. President Snow, Hunger Games Trilogy
There’s nothing particularly fresh about President Snow. Any viewer whose grade school celebrated the Pizza Hut Book It Program probably encountered an identical dystopian tyrant at some point. He hits all the items on the standard checklist. Abuse of unearned power? Check. Lack of concern for the people he’s supposed to lead? Check. Reliance on inhuman traditions? Twenty-two checks, two for each district. But what does President Snow have working against him that is unique? He’s trying to kill everyone’s darling Jennifer Lawrence. You ain’t gonna make no friends like that even when you look like an old gray lion!
94. Xerxes, 300
What the hell is going on with Xerxes? Why is he so lumbering and androgynous? Did all Persians speak straight thunder? Why does he accessorize like a nine-foot tall Johnny Depp? How did he ever gain this much power? An entire empire just accepts the assignment of doing this guy’s bidding as he expands into world power? I don’t get it. I get it even less in slow motion. He’s so irritating that in a movie that plays like an advertisement for banana hammocks, his pantslessness is the only pantslessness that annoys me.
93. The Wolves, The Grey
Let’s get serious for a minute. The wolves in The Grey aren’t biologically accurate because they aren’t biological entities. They’re manifestations of nature’s indifference to man. They’re distorted, ugly, and vicious. They are symbols for a world that is full of comparable existential harshness and here is why we hate them. For fans of Liam Neeson, it is impossible to watch this movie without noting the biographical coincidence. A man mourning the untimely death of his wife is thrown into a senseless game of minute-by-minute survival while carrying the weight of his despair? Yeah, fuck these wolves.
92. Mr. Blonde, Reservoir Dogs
None of the characters in Reservoir Dogs are good guys. They’re a collection of criminals and one snitch. Mr. Pink doesn’t even tip! Mr. Pink’s a bad guy. Mr. Black is a bad guy. Mr. White is a bad guy. Mr. Blonde is a villain. In the time it takes for the song “Stuck in the Middle With You” to roll to completion, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Madsen illustrate the difference between bad guys and villains. Remember that for the rest of the list. These are the sort of sadistic sons-of-guns we’re seeking. Evil men go for the ear, that’s a fact.
91. Ursula, The Little Mermaid
Ursula might be a Cecaelian sea witch but she’s also just your standard raggedy ass hoe, pulling tricks like pretending to be Ariel’s bestie while using the naïve young mermaid for her own ambition. And then when Ariel starts making progress with the dashingly handsome Prince Eric, Ursula gets jealous and pretties herself up to steal the stud from her. What a trifling bitch. And oh yeah, on top of that, she has every intention to kill Ariel’s father and rule the kingdom of the sea. SMH.
90. Monstars, Space Jam
When we watched Space Jam the first time, we didn’t know that the Monstars were going to bring Michael Jordan out of retirement or that they were going to give us the best song on the best 90s soundtrack (“I Hit’em High, Hit’em High, Hit’em High”). All we knew is that they came down with ill intentions, stole the talent of five of the most… well, mediocre 90s NBA players, they played dirty, and they bullied some of our most famous icons (Bugs, MJ, Tweetie). In retrospect, we recognize that the Monstars gave us His Airness back, but you don’t watch movies in retrospect. Otherwise, everyone would have known that Michael’s super-secret stuff was just water (which he still probably could have sold for three figures).
89. Peter and Paul, Funny Games
I choose the pesky neighbor kids from the 2007 remake rather than the 1997 Austrian original for two reasons: 1.) These two sadistic killers are far more bothersome when contextualized within a film essay that hates its own audience enough to repeat itself and 2.) Michael Pitt has a punchable face. This is an unrelenting film, and Haneke can be considered a third assailant in the assault, because when the film rewinds itself and replays the same event with a… less triumphant outcome, our anger is too intense to assign to only two people
88. Pinhead, Hellraiser Series
Pinhead is no longer as villainous in appearance as he might have once been. He’s not even edgy enough to make it into one Tool’s later music videos. I know plenty of guys who probably pay good money for that sort of leather garb and “acupuncture.” Do they even pull the shades on S&M joints these days? It’s the cenobites that Pinhead has backing him up like some nightmare yes-men that make us squirm so deeply backward into the couch. And the fact that it’s not just about killing, it’s about souls and the struggle is puzzle based? Puzzles and cenobites? I can’t even finish a Rubik’s Cube when fat people are watching. No thanks, Pinhead. I’m out.
87. Commodus, Gladiator
Commodus is a sniveling little twat. Between the arranged murder of his admirable father and just before the anti-climax where he declines the honorable option and literally stabs Maximus in the back, Commodus has zero (0) redeeming moments. When Maximus first reveals his identity to the Emporer in the audience of an unhinged Coliseum crowd, I don’t know that I’ve ever been thirstier for a movie character’s blood. But the fight that I yearned to see doesn’t come until the end of the movie, and by then, I hate Commodus so much that no beatdown is going to satisfy me. Certainly, the weak-ass final fight does nothing to satiate my anger. So, I carried residual hate for Joaquin Phoenix halfway into Signs.
86. Uncle Charlie, Shadow of a Doubt
There’s an ugliness hidden in Hitchcock’s darkest villains, and at his best, Grandaddy Alfred was too smart to expose it. We get glimpses of evil in Uncle Charlie, but no clear vision explaining his hate for the standard life he observes and ruins. He marks the first great case of movie sociopathy, framed by the adoring and then suspicious gaze of his niece. And the worst: the Merry Widow Killer never faces justice. He eludes capture and even suspicion (that’s another thing: our frustration with these implausibly stupid investigators spills into the pool of hate we have for Charlie), and eventually ends up honored by the small town that represented everything he hated.